A full statement on the results of the election...
It's going to be a tough time ahead. There's a small outside chance that every electoral dude and dudette turns into a faithless elector and our system of government takes a shot to the family jewels.
(Not that it hasn't ever taken one before, as Vice President Gore can attest, or a not-insignificant number of people can attest regarding who they see as our first Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Kenyan, Immigrant President)
Cubs won the World Series. The Cavs were down 3-1 against the best team in NBA history )coached by a Spurs' protegé) and came out the winners. Reminder that the Cavaliers are from Cleveland, a city that is destined to never enjoy a shred of happiness.
There's also a chance Trump goes full blown left, appoints actually competent people to his actual cabinet, then gets impeached and we have Nightmare Fuel President Pence and -then- we must be concerned given his whole stiffy for depriving people of their civil rights.
2016 is the year of weirdness.
As an American citizen, I have to (again, unlike a lot of people who swear President Obama is a Muslim and not an American citizen and somehow super-friendly to undocumented immigrants despite his deporting more people in 4 years than his predecessor did in 8) recognize the President-elect for his title. I respected Bush. I see a lot of my veteran friends who are profoundly upset but willing to do their best to change things around from the ground up. Because again (one more dig), these are patriots to me, unlike the people who wear a treasonous flag and call it patriotism.
And because I'm an American citizen, this is MY country. I do't have the luxury not even the remotest desire to leave my country. Canada? It's 42 degrees right now and I'm in sweats and bundled up. I'm also notoriously stubborn and it would give me no end of pleasure knowing that I'm a thorn in the side of the "GIT OUT THIS MAH COUNTRY!" idiots.
I also understand that I'm not a teenager anymore, and that I'm a grown man (in age if not necessarily in attitude most of the time). There are a lot of children right now being bullied and harassed for who they are or what they look like. There have been spikes in calls to suicide hotlines by GLBT teenagers who now have to see that their countrymen elected a platform that includes the wording "our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society"; there are teenagers whose now President-elect kicked off his campaign calling them rapists and murderers; Muslim kids who look at a man who said in his campaign trail that he would force them to 'register' as if their BIRTH CERTIFICATES or I DON'T KNOW THEIR APPLICATIONS WTH ICE didn't do it as they've done it for the rest of us. That's not even including Sikhs and Hindus who aren't Muslim but they 1) look brown 2) talk different 3) wear certain kind of headgear and therefore, they are Muslim to a lot of morons. I don't need to remind you that Wade Michael Page happened.
I have friends who are under DACA, Americans in every way possible. If the wet dreams of a lot of Republcans come to fruition, they run the risk of being deported to a country that's not theirs. You deport my brown ass to Mexico, I'd be fine because I GREW UP IN THE COUNTRY. How do you tell someone who was brought here when they were knee-high to a grasshopper that okay guess what you get to live in a country you have no memory of?
I also I understand I am a man. Women are more likely to suffer sexual assault than men are (1/6 vs 1/10 and that's just going off reported stats) and I have had friends already threatened. And not just them, their acquaintances, their friends, assaulted by men who feel empowered by Trump's comments. These are MY FRIENDS, and I'm not just going off what some noob on HuffPo said. I'll say it again: My friends have been harassed, their families have been harassed. People deny that rape and sexual assault is so common. They take a man like Bill Cosby and it takes 15,000 allegations for people to go...oh, hm, maybe we should look into it. We've had institutions like Notre Dame and Baylor go "hmmm LOLZ IDK" to sexual allegations in the name of football.
Listen to them. Listen to their voices. Don't dismiss them. Defend them.
Back to the election. Third-party votes did affect it. Third-party voters voted their conscience (including votes for someone who believes that wi-fi causes brain damage) and did honestly believe they could get the 5% threshold. I understand and validate people's feelings of anger. But I'd honestly be more angry at the number 48%, which is the number of the eligible voters that sat this one out, to the tune of 90 million people. Give just a portion to that to Hillary and we'd be talking about a KKK rally in NC to mourn, rather than celebrate, right now.
That's the amount of eligible voters that did NOT vote. Say you were to take 10% of that and give it to the loser in the last several presidential elections. You'd get Presidents Romney, McCain, Kerry, Gore, Dole, Dukakis and re-election for the first President Bush. You have to go back to the Raegan-Mondale election to see where 10% wouldn't have made an impact. There are also friends I have that voted for Trump. Intelligent and well-meaning friends who are not the type to do the kind of damage the majority of their counterparts did. Who legitimately voted for the orange churro and the Senator Robert Kelly wannabe not because of "KILLGHAZI" or "MAKE THE WHITE HOUSE WHITE AGAIN" but for what they felt were valid economic reasons. I am able to have conversations with them and learn a lot from them precisely because of their level of education. To those people, I ask that you listen to us.
My fight is not with you, my fight is with those that lack your intelligence and your understanding.
There's going to be a lot of angry people right now. Some of them will, yes, get very slacktivist and go back to their day-to-day lives in a week or two or until the next gorilla gets shot or someone laughs in a Chewbacca mask or a high school kid gets new Vans.
But there are a lot more of us that are going to stay angry and I'm going to stoke that anger, that passion, that fire because it can help. Two things: 1) I hate to borrow from the Sith code but there is some truth to their code: Peace is a lie, there is only passion; through passion I gain strength; through strength, I gain power; through power, I gain victory; through victory, my chains are broken. 2) The GOP, from Obama's election, resolved to be the bunch of obstructionist jackasses. When Democrats held Congress under Bush, they were all like YES SIR HOW HIGH SIR HOW MANY IRAQIS DO WE GET TO BOMB SIR. GOP members went for the "nah" and the "have you SEEN that Obama?" "wow he's comning for your guns" "my name is Donald and I don't think Obama is a real citizen" John McCain, in his race against the President, totally shut down a question in a town hall about the then-senator's citizenship, to the tune of "I'm sorry, but you're wrong, he's an American citizen and a good family man whom I have some disagreements with."
Mitt Romney never attacked President Obama's family either.
So they both lost, and then Trump wins and that gives the Democrats their playbook. Now we progressives have to build on it. FLOTUS Michelle Obama said: When they go low, we go high. And I agree. But there's ways to go high and still maintain that level of energy. Plus a flying elbow can incapacitate as easily as a knee to the groin. I think we need to take a good long look at our second amendment. Not to overturn it, but if we're going to follow Scalia's rather liberal interpretation of DC v. Heller we know that "The second amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." We need the NRA to take active roles in protesting the deaths of armed black and Latino men. It has to be unanimous, and not the wishy-washy attitude we saw from them in the Philando Castile case. We need for police forces to offer every armed and unarmed individual they encounter the same respect they offered the members of the Bundy family (who pointed weapons at them) and murderers like Dylann Roof and Adam Lanza, who surrendered while armed to the teeth and lived to stand trial. There needs to be an end to the "well, what was the victim doing? oh look, they had a criminal record! their shooting was justified then! whew!" mentality that we have seen so much of in the last 2 years. At the same time, we need to make LEO's jobs safer. How do we do this? We pay them more, we equip them to defuse tense situations in better ways, and we get rid of IQ caps that some police departments have established. We help them get rid their profession of the bad apples (as lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers do) and we encourage more community involvement. I'll take Dallas PD as an example. They've led the way in community involvement, working with civil rights groups to help reduce crime. After July's tragic killings, the chief of police set out a call to the community to say "hey guys, we need your help, join us!" and you know what? Applications increased threefold.
Back to the election and the protests. I have some unfortunate news for those who are calling the protesters all sorts of names.
It's their right.
And this might not sound good to those same people but, burning the flag is protected speech. Until the day the Supreme Court overturns United States v Eichman and Texas v. Johnson, people are allowed to burn the flag. Now I do advise the protesters to not throw the burning flag at someone because that would be assault and battery. And that's not constitutionally-protected.
To the people who start tone-policing people's feelngs: Please read the Letter from Birmingham Jail by MLK Jr., since a lot of you are so fond of quoting him: The whole thing is amazing but there's one paragrah I'd like to point out: "First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
In other words, don't call yourself an ally if you're going to talk down to people in the movements you're joining. Don't call yourself an ally if you're going to tone-police.
If you feel that wearing a safety pin is going to help, do it, but be ready to act on that. Be ready to listen. Be ready to defend. Be ready to engage in dialogue that will at times be very uncomfortable. But that's how you grow, by listening, by stepping out of the echo chamber. Cite your sources. Fact-check everything.
Pick your battles.
And for the love of Christ stop calling yourself a feminist or an ally if you're going to post nude pictures of the first-lady-to-be. In your pursuit of outing the opposition as hypocritical, you're outing yourself as a hypocrite, too. Yes, the right would have had a FIELD day if Michelle Obama had appeared in the nude or in racy photoshoots when she was younger. AND? How does slut-shaming help your case at all? It doesn't. There are many ways to attack hypocrisy without resorting to slut-shaming.
Anger is good, energy is good, but there needs to be structure.
My friends and family and whoever reads this: Please do not lose that anger. Do not lose that passion. One of my favorite songs is OTEP's Ghostflowers. There's a line I love that says: " You want to see me burn, I am living fire!" Because that is going to be my motto, especially since there are a lot of people who want to subjugate us, silence our voices, and burn our ideals.
Let us show them we are living fire.
This is our damn country, too.